Counseling and Psychotherapy
Counseling and Psychotherapy
Trauma is the individual’s response to a deeply distressing or disturbing event, or to repeated distressing events. Traumatic events experienced in childhood, adolescence, or adulthood may lead to medical, psychological, and behavioral consequences.
Presby Psych is a trauma-informed organization. Our trauma clinicians are deeply knowledgeable about trauma and its aftermath. We strive to help trauma survivors develop greater resilience and access post-traumatic growth as they work through the memories, moods, and expectations generated by past trauma. We believe that it is possible to thrive, not just survive, after trauma.
occurs when the person or persons on whom an individual depends for physical or emotional care significantly violate that individual’s trust or well-being. Child abuse, domestic violence, date-rape are examples of betrayal trauma.
Institutional Betrayal Trauma
is associated with wrongdoings perpetrated by an institution upon individuals dependent on that institution, including failure to prevent or respond supportively to wrongdoings by individuals (e.g. sexual assault) committed within the context of the institution. Sexual abuse in religious denominations, ongoing sexual harassment in a corporation, and gender bullying in the military, are consistent with institutional trauma.
occurs when individuals in high-stress jobs, like first responders or healthcare workers, experience one or more dangerous or deeply disturbing events.
Single Event Trauma
is a response to a significant single event like a natural disaster, car accident, or witnessing a crime.
Signs and Symptoms of Trauma
These are some of the ways unprocessed trauma may affect functioning. It is not an exhaustive list and any one set of symptoms may not indicate trauma. A trauma-trained clinician working in a trauma-informed setting, along with your primary care physician, are best able to help you discern the basis of these potential trauma outcomes.
The impact of trauma is cumulative. The more traumas an individual has experienced and the longer the duration of each, the more distressing the after-effects may be.
- Chronic pain conditions
- Inflammatory diseases
- Obesity, high BMI (Body Mass Index)
- Sexual dysfunction
- Sleep problems
- Losing time
- Feeling that one is not always in control of personal functioning
- Not feeling real or familiar
- Not feeling that surroundings are real or sensing they are unfamiliar
- Feeling shame or guilt without a current reason
- Intense fear of medical/dental procedures
- Intrusive thoughts/memories/nightmares of trauma
- Negative attitudes about life
- Seemingly irrational reactions to certain sights, smells, sounds, tastes, touches
- Alcohol/substance abuse
- Domestic violence victim/perpetrator
- Eating disorders/emotional eating
- Self-harm: cutting/burning/head banging
- Sexual promiscuity or fearful abstinence
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts
- Fear of hurting children/bearing a child
- Fear of sexual intimacy
- Mistrust/fear of others or trusting too fast
- Social isolation
- Unstable friendships, work relationships, romances
- Anxiety/panic attacks
- Swings between feeling very good and very anxious or depressed.
Trauma survivors have resiliencies
Our clinicians attend not only to clients’ trauma-related symptoms and suffering, but also identify and build on the often-impressive resiliencies trauma survivors bring to therapy.
Post-traumatic growth is possible
Traumatized individuals are often sure that they will never feel better, be free of flashbacks, or be able to enjoy a full life. We believe that processing and working through trauma while building on resiliencies can restore hope and a sense of possibility in trauma survivors.
Trauma therapy is deeply relational
The effectiveness of all counseling and psychotherapy depends on the relationship co-created by the clinician and the client. Because of the interpersonal harm often inherent in trauma, the clinical relationship is even more important in work with trauma survivors. It is within the context of mutual trust, respect, relational ruptures and repair, that the trauma survivor heals and grows.
Trauma therapists must engage in ongoing learning
Knowledge about trauma, resilience, post-traumatic growth, and effective therapeutic approaches changes rapidly as neurobiology, trauma research, and models of contemporary psychotherapy evolve.
Trauma therapy is multidisciplinary
Clinicians may incorporate somatic experiencing, art, EMDR, deep breathing, bibliotherapy, journaling and other techniques into a comprehensive trauma therapy.
Trauma therapy is integrative
Our trauma clinicians respect that each of us have bodies, minds, and souls. Trauma often harms these aspects of a human being and our clinicians attend to each of them during trauma therapy.
Trauma therapy is not about diagnosis
No client is “just” a trauma survivor, or a sexual assault victim. Each is a unique human being whose life includes painful experiences, often betrayals, by someone loved and trusted, and for whom once-useful coping mechanisms are no longer working well. We do not ask what is wrong with you; we ask about the life experiences that bring you to therapy now.
Trauma therapy takes as long as it takes
Trauma recovery, especially of betrayal trauma, may take time. Clients must be in charge of the timing and the pace of their trauma work, and our clinicians honor that principle. We are committed to working with a trauma survivor for as long as it takes for them to heal and grow.
Meet Your Trauma Recovery Counseling & Psychotherapy Team
Patrick Collins, LCSW, LCAS
Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist, Presby Psych Good Practice Officer
Amanda Jamison, Psy.D.
Director of Presby Psych’s Internship Program,
Coordinator of Presby Psych’s Mental Health Program at the YWCA’s Women in Transition Program